Identity

Week 6

Shannon Lovelady
July 2


If you will lay down your life so that He can live, it is a game changer. Imagine what God can do in you fifty days from now. Well, what He could do in this church fifty days from now. What He could do in our community fifty days from now!
— Shannon Lovelady

We have been in this series called, “Who Do You Say I Am?” This is the question that Jesus asked His disciples and we have been talking about that. Peter said, “You're the Messiah, you're the Son of God.” We've talked about both God and His deity and Jesus being God in the flesh and understanding of our pain and what that means. We've walked that out over the last few weeks and talked about that. Ultimately, the reason Jesus' identity matters is that who we say He is affects how we live. It affects how we live our lives and how we live out the gospel. So we're going to be wrapping up this series today as we head into the fall season. 

Can you believe that school is already starting? It is crazy. Teenagers, I know that you guys are so excited about that this week. But school is starting and we're going to be kicking off a new series. I know it's not officially fall, but I consider it fall once school starts. My summer's over right? It’s done, it's finished, it's just really hot and we don't get to enjoy the pool anymore. 

So we’ll soon be heading into our next series, but we're finishing up this one this morning. This idea of who do we say that Jesus is and how that applies to our life. I want to encourage you guys, if you've spent the last few weeks being here on Sunday mornings and going, okay, I get who Jesus is, but what does that mean? I'm begging you, again, if you're thinking, “I know what I'm done, I'm throwing in the towel. I'm not going to try this church thing anymore.” I'm begging you, on my knees begging, come back next week. Seriously, come back next week  and give us an opportunity to talk about how the Gospel applies to your life and how Jesus changes who we are. It's going to get real hands on, real down and dirty, real practical for the next few weeks together. So come bring a friend with you. It's a great time as people are kicking off the school season, getting back into school. It's a great time to reach out to your friends and say, “Hey, we're making new commitments here.” Be here. Be a part of what God's doing. I think we'll all be blessed together as we walk out this next series together. But today specifically, I want to talk about this idea of Jesus being our identity. 

Who do we say Jesus is? He's our identity. There are a lot of you who have asked, and some of you have heard me preach on this before, but a lot of you have asked, “What are these tattoos about? What do they mean?” About fifteen years ago I heard a sermon from a guy named Jason French. I was at a youth conference and a guy named Jason French preached on John 21. We're going to look at John 21 today and exactly how Jesus and who he is changes who we are, and I hope that you'll understand. This one says “agape” and this one says “phileo". We'll get to that in a little bit at the end of John 21. But the first time I heard this teaching, honestly, I had been in the church my entire life and it radically changed who I was and it radically changed my understanding of the Gospel. It radically changed my understanding of Jesus and who I was and who He desired me to be. So I'm going to pray and then we're just going to get into John 21 together. 

God, thank you for this morning. Thank you for your Word. Thank you that your Word is alive and active. So God, as we just walk out John 21 this morning, we pray that you would speak to us as we walk out these verses. I believe that you really, at the end of the day, need nothing from me. I believe that it is your Spirit and your Word that speaks, and  your Spirit and your Word that does the calling and the moving. So God, this morning, for those of us who are sitting here that maybe don't understand the Gospel or who we are in Christ, I pray that maybe for the first time this morning, some folks would see who you are and, and how that changes everything for us. God, I pray that we'd be encouraged this morning where we need encouragement. God, I pray we would be convicted where we need conviction. I just pray that you would speak to us this morning, that you would do business with us in this place. I know a lot of us are experiencing a lot of different things. Some are on spiritual highs, some spiritual lows, but God, ultimately, I know that you want to do work right now. I believe that where your Word is spoken, powerful things happen, and so God, we just want to receive that this morning. God help us to break down our walls, break down our barriers so that we can hear you now. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

John, 21 is where we are. I'm going to need a lot of crowd participation this morning. All right? Okay, let's try that again. That was a test I was just seeing if you're there. I'm going to need a lot of crowd participation this morning. All right. (Audience responds loudly.) Okay,I saw the “whoop, whoop,” too. That'll work too. All right. So John 21, let's just break it down and we just want to CSI this thing together and just really dig deep into this and see what's going on behind the scene. 

Any other crime show buffs out there? Crime show buffs? That's kind of my secret thing. I lay in bed and I like Law and Order, CSI, and all of those Criminal Minds shows. That one gets a little freaky, I’m not going to lie. That one, I have to wait until after Natasha falls asleep. But, yeah, I love going, man, what really happened? What's really going on behind the scenes? That's what I love about God's Word. Honestly, I truly believe his Word is alive and there is so much richness to this. 

Yeah, you guys have heard me talk about John and his intentions of writing this book, right? He said that he wrote this book, so that we all would believe that Jesus is who He says He is, and that by calling on His name we would receive what? Good Grief, y'all. Come on now. That's where you're supposed to be like “Yes!” We are listening. “Yes.” Where you would receive what? (Audience responds “Life.”) There you go. So alright, sweet. Awesome. So John 21. This is the last chapter in John's telling of Jesus and his life. Just for some context, Jesus has been crucified. He's risen from the dead. Some of His disciples have seen Him here and there. He's been showing up. He’s many, many days into being risen from the dead before He ascends back to heaven. And this is where we are. In John 21, it says, “Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there. Simon Peter…” 

Let's stop right there. Somebody help me out. As we start to CSI and dive deep into this, several of his disciples were there, Simon Peter being one of them. What's up with that? Somebody helped me. Well, what's his name now? Anybody know Peter? Remember way back when Jesus first met this guy named Simon, He said, “Listen, come follow me. You're not going to fish for fish anymore. You're going to fish for men,” and He says, “I'm actually going to give you a new name. Your old name was Simon, but your new identity, your new name is now Peter." He says, “It means the Rock.” And He says, “I know you don't feel like the Rock.” Anybody not feel like the Rock this morning, right? “I know you don't feel like the Rock. I know you don't feel like you are who I say you are, but trust me.” You guys have heard me talk about Peter before. What I love about Peter is that he screws it up over, and over, and over, and over again, but then Jesus says, “Now you're a rockstar. That's not who you are. You're not a screw up. I'm going to use you. I'm giving you a new name, a new identity.” 

So all of a sudden we see that something's up here. John is writing this book, this interaction here, and John says, Simon Peter was there, Thomas (nicknamed the twins,) Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee. You remember who they are, James and John, the Sons of Thunder and two other disciples. 

Simon Peter says what? “I'm going fishing.” I'm going fishing. What's up with that? What's wrong with that? He's going back to his old ways. Remember when Jesus met these guys on the shore, they were out there fishing. This rabbi walks up and He's teaching different than other rabbis and He sees these guys. He says, “Hey, come follow me. Drop your nets. Leave everything. Leave your family behind. That's not who you are anymore. Let's go. Come follow me. You're no longer going to fish for…” What? He says, “fish. “You're now going to be a fisher of man?” He says, “You have a new identity. You have a new purpose. You have a new job.” I need you to understand. How many fishermen have we got out here? Guys like to fish. Y'all know, I love to go out. Just sit in a Jon boat and I don't care if I don't catch anything. I just want to sit there, get sunburned and not think about anything. Anybody? Y'all know what I'm talking about. 

Well, that’s not what Simon Peter was doing. That's not what he was doing. He fished for a living. They didn't go out to the Sea of Galilee and say, “Hey, bring your buddies if y’all want to do that this afternoon. Let's just throw out a pole to see what we can catch and listen to country songs.” Right? That's not what they did. He was going back to his old way of life. He was going back to his old identity and who he used to be. 

Some of you guys may have only been coming for the last four or five weeks since we've been here at City Station or since Southern Hills has. Maybe you've been testing this thing out, right? Maybe there's people sitting here this morning that have been baptized in the last couple months and you're going, “Yeah, we love Jesus. Yes we do. We love Jesus. How about you?” Right? And you're so excited. You're so excited, but then all of a sudden over the last couple of weeks, something has hit you square upside the face. What you thought was true and what she thought was reality are different and you thought everything was going to be hunky dory now. You were no longer going to have any problems, because now you love Jesus and Jesus loves you. Then all of a sudden reality is hitting you upside the face. You’re tempted to go back to who you were before, because what you thought made sense a few weeks ago or what you thought made sense on that mission trip or in that Bible study, or in that small group, just go down the list, right? We've all been there. We've all experienced it. We've all thought now life is going to be different, and now everything that you thought was real, everything that you thought was right, everything that you thought you had finally figured it out, and it's gone. 

Cancer hits or you've lost your job. Your husband or your wife left you anyway, or your teenagers are still rebellious. Let me go down the list, right? Or that addiction that you thought you had licked, just seems to keep cropping its ugly head back up. You know, because we've talked about it, we talked about it from the baptistry, we've taught you that you've been given a new life. You’ve been given a new identity, but it just doesn't feel like it. That's where Peter finds himself. He thinking, “Oh, man, I followed this guy for three years and I thought that was it. I thought Rome was gone. I thought that the Messiah was here and that Israel was going to be back in its rightful place and now He's dead. Well, what the heck is going on?” 

So we’re tempted to go back to what's familiar. That old way of speaking to our spouse, right? We say, “I've tried to crucify myself, Shannon, I've tried to love my wife the way Christ loves the Church and she still keeps treating me badly. I've tried and I'm not getting the results that I anticipated.” It's not about the results that you anticipated, it's about how does God say to treat your wife. “But, Shannon. That way was so familiar. That way was easy. That way I understand. I know the results and this is so frustrating.” Right? 

So we're tempted to go back to the familiar man. Some of you teenagers, you need to understand that you're starting school this week and I know you're on cloud nine. I know you jumped in a baptistry. I know you're excited. I know you've committed with your buddies that you were going to have Bible studies together and all these different things. But I'm telling you, real life is going to hit you here in just a few days when you get back out on the football field, get back out on the lacrosse field, get back out in the classroom setting. When all of a sudden your friends are saying, “Hey man, this is where we sit. This is what we do, this is how we act.” You see that kid sitting over at this table and you're left with a choice and you're going to be tempted to go back to the familiar. Why? Because the familiar is easy. Familiar is easy, man. The familiar is comfortable, isn’t it? At least in the familiar when my wife and I act the way that we have always acted, at least I know what to expect, right? At least I know that we're going to sleep in separate beds. At least I know how we're going to treat each other. At least I know, right? Go down the list. So we're tempted to run back to the one thing that we think we can wrap our heads around that makes sense. 

So that's what Peter's doing here. So several of disciples were there. Simon Peter said, “I'm going fishing.” Look what happens next? What's it say? “We'll come, too.” Church, I need you to hear me loud and clear. Parents, dads, especially right now, dads look at me. Dads, listen, you need to understand that your sin affects everyone around you. See, we live in this world where we try to preach and we try to say, “Mind your own business. It's my life. I'm not hurting anybody.” That is not scripture. It's not Biblical, Church. We belong to each other. We're family. I mean that with all of my heart. What I do affects you. What you do affects me, good and bad. We are supernaturally connected. We are the Church. We are the body of Christ. We're the bride of Christ and we live in this world that says, “Nah, just mind your own business. As long as you're not hurting anybody, you're not hurting anybody. Do what you want to do, and that's fine.” Guys, that is not scripture. It's not Biblical. 

Peter says, “I'm going back to who I was before, because I'm scared, because life doesn't make sense now.” You know what he does? He drags his friends with him, and dads, I'm begging you right now. You better believe that you are the spiritual leader of your home, whether you know it or not. I didn't say that you're a good spiritual leader, but you are the spiritual leader of your home. Take it seriously. When your kids are watching, I don't give a rip how you tell them to live, what they want to see is how you live. Is Christ truly transforming who you are in your home and the way that you parent and the way that you speak to your wife and the way that you put your family before your work and the way that you crucify yourself so that Christ can live in every situation? It matter! 

“‘We’ll come, too,’ they all said, so they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.’” So they're out on the Sea of Galilee fishing. They'd been fishing all night long. Again, they're not fishing for fun, they're fishing to try to make a living and they're fishing to try to go back and understand that this is reality. Now it's back to old life and then in verse four, it is dawn. Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who He was. So He called out, “Fellows have you caught any fish?” So again, imagine this scene, these guys have been fishing all night long, all night long! How many of you guys like it when you've been doing your job all night long and somebody comes along and tells you how you should've done it? Anybody? Or “How's that going? Did you have a good night? Are you tired?” Yeah. No, we don't like that, dude. These guys been fishing all night long. They haven't caught anything. This dude shows up on the shore. He's a couple hundred yards off shore. They look, they can see this figure. He screamed out. “Y'all caught anything.” Now y'all, some of you fishermen know exactly what's going through their heads right now! Right? 

“No,” they replied. Then He said, “ Throw out your net on the right hand side of the boat, You'll catch some.” This sound familiar to you guys. If you flip over to Luke 5,  I just hinted to it a few minutes ago when Jesus comes along and He says, “Hey guys, this is me. I'm Jesus. I want you to drop your nets. I want you to follow me. And I'll make you fishermen” Before He did that, these guys were out there fishing and He called out to them. He said, “Hey guys, y'all been fishing all night? You caught anything?” Peter was one of those guys. “Y'all been fishing all night. Caught anything? Well look, here's the deal. Throw out your nets on the other side of the boat.” They're like, Come on dude. Who are you, Mr. Rabbi. Sweet. You just go pray somewhere. Don't tell us how to fish. Right? So they throw the nets out. 

And we learned in Luke 5 that the nets gets so full that they begin to tear. I mean it's crazy. Then they get so full after that, they load them up in the boats and the boats began to sink because of how many fish they caught. So these guys are standing out here again. Remember they’ve gone back to their old way of life. They've seen Jesus crucified, they've seen their whole world flipped upside down. They've seen everything begin to not make sense at all. They’ve gone back to their old selves. They're fishing all night. They're exhausted. They're tired. They're sweating and they're stinking. They haven't caught anything. Jesus calls out and says, “Y'all caught anything?” They still don't know who Jesus is at this point. They just think He's so annoying, this guy on the shore. “Nah.” they yelled. I don't think they said “Nah.” I think they said some other things, but John edited it. I'm just saying. You know that's not all he said was “No” Jesus says, “Throw your nets out on the other side of the boat and you'll get some.”

Now the next verse’ve. So they did. But can you imagine what's going through their head right now? Seriously. Put yourself in their shoes. You got about seven or eight guys out on a boat fishing. You got John sitting there going, “Wait a minute, this sounds eerily familiar right now. Wait a minute. I am having deja vu. Hasn't this happened before?” And they began to look at each other. They begin to question and they began to old junk, right? John turns to Peter, just like “Maybe? You think? That isn’t… surely not. That can't be who I think?” I think Peter turns to Thomas. He's like, “Man, do you think that could be Jesus?” And Thomas is like, “No, I doubt it.” (Laughter) Yeah, some of y’all will get that later. They are freaking out right now. Put yourself in there.

So have you ever been busted? You ever felt like Jesus showed up just when you didn't want Him to show up? I never have, y'all are sinners, man. ( Laughter) It's a scary place to be isn’t it? So you know the truth. I know the truth. I know who I am. I know that scripture tells me I'm the righteousness of God. I know that scripture tells me I'm holy. I know that my identity is Christ now because of Him crucified and alive and my acceptance of that. Now He's alive in me. I know that, but man, we forget, don't we? Here's what I love about our Jesus is that He shows up and believe me, I know it's scary. It's uncomfortable, but over and over and over again, He shows up. He could have been like, “Loser!” I camped out with you for three years, three years! It was a three year CIY. It was a three year dad gum mission trip, and you still don't get it, but He didn't. He showed up and check out what happens. 

So they did. They threw their nets out and they couldn't haul in the net because there were so many fish. And in verse seven, “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved…” Who did I say that was a couple of weeks ago. That's John. That's in case you weren't here. That's the guy that wrote this book. Over and over and over again that's what he calls himself. Jesus must have said it one time around a campfire, and John's got it. “That's my name. I'm the one you love.” Back to the scripture. “So the disciple whom Jesus loved, said to Peter, ‘It's the Lord.’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic for he had stripped for work.” I don't get that. Never fished naked, don't understand, but he put on his tunic. Y'all can figure it out. Y'all can google that later. He stripped for work and he jumped into the water and he headed to the shore. This is what I love about Peter. They're in a boat. They're way off shore and the other guys stay with the boat because they just caught a bunch of fish and they know they've got responsibilities. But Peter's like, “That's Jesus!” We give Peter such a hard time. You know he's the same Peter, that when Jesus came walking on the water and the second Peter realized that it’s Jesus, he said, “Jesus, tell me to come to you and I'll come.” And Jesus said, “All right, then come.” So Peter jumps out and starts walking, and then he goes, “Oh, that's not who I am. I'm not a water walker.” Right? He forgot his identity again, and when he forgot his identity, he began to sink and Jesus again didn't leave him. He came to him. He stoops down and puts out His hand, picks him out of the water and says, “You of little faith.” But let's be real for a second. Peter has way more faith than any of us ever dreamed of having. When Peter knew that it was Jesus, when he understood the second that Jesus had come to him and that conviction hit him and he thought, “Chunk, I did it again!” He didn't hesitate because he knew that his best friend Jesus was a guy that loved him, that adored him, and as guilty as he felt, he dove into the water and said, “Here I come. Here I come. I‘ve got to get to Jesus!” 

So he jumped in the water. He headed the swarm. Verse Eight, the others stayed with the boat and they pulled that loaded net to the shore. They're only about one hundred yards from the shore, so Peter swam one hundred yards in his tunic and when they got there, this is so cool, man. When they got there, they found what? Waiting for them. Breakfast! Hang on now. They weren't there yet. They were fishing. They went back to their old way of life. Peter jumped in. He didn't grab some fish and swim with it. Peter jumped in and swam to the shore. They hauled the fish in. When they all get there, they found breakfast waiting for them. What was breakfast? Fish. 

Now that's nasty, but fish cooking over a charcoal fire in some bread? That word “charcoal fire” is interesting. It's only used one other time in the New Testament. You know where it is. In John 18, I'm going to read it for you. John 18:18. If you flip back just a couple verses. Verse 18, “Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it warming themselves and Peter stood there with them warming himself.” You know what happened next? Jesus was being beaten and Peter was standing in the courtyard of Caiaphas hearing Jesus being beaten and people came to Peter as he stood around a charcoal fire and asked him, “Aren't you one of those men and Peter responded three times, “No, I don't know Him. I have no idea who that man is.” Tell me Jesus isn't doing this on purpose. Peter shows up on shore and the other disciples show up on shore. They've gone back to their old way of life. Everything has been flipped upside down. Nothing that they thought made sense, made sense anymore, and they pull up to the beach. They have all these fish and Jesus is sitting there going, “If you just wanted some fish, all you had to do was ask, Peter.” Remember the smell? Remember the last time we were together, remember the last time we saw each other around this fire and there's some bread, and then Jesus tells his disciples. He says, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore and there were one hundred fifty-three large fish. Yet the net hadn't torn. 

This is what I love about Jesus as well. This is a side note. I love that Jesus. Even in our stupidity, even in our thinking that we're all that and a bag of chips, He says, “You know what? I‘ve got this. I'm taking care of you. Here's fish. Here's bread. Here's the fire. I'm here. Nothing's changed. I know that your world has been flipped upside down, but nothing's changed. You know what, I'm going to allow you to be a part of this.” He says, “You know, if you want to bring some of your fish, bring some of your fish. Come be a part of what I'm doing now. Come and have some breakfast.” None of the disciples there dared to ask him, “Who are you?” Duh, because they knew it was the Lord by this time, and then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 

You guys remember the last time they had a meal together? It's what we just celebrated a few minutes ago when Jesus took the bread and He took the wine and He went around to each of His disciples and He said, “Listen, take this bread. Eat this bread, and every time you do, remember my body is going to be broken for you. This is what this symbolizes every time you come together as believers, every time you come together as the church. I don't want you to take this bread and remember what you're about to see, what's about to take place. I want you to remember this moment.” He says, “I want you to drink this wine.” He said, “because every time you take this together, I want you to remember that there was a sacrifice that had to be paid, that God's wrath has not changed. Just the object of God's wrath has changed and the object of God's wrath,” He says, “is going to be me and there has to be a sacrifice and my body will be broken and my blood will be poured out so that you can be made right so that you can be wholly made, not due to anything that you've done so that you can boast, but what Christ has done in you, where the righteousness of God is.” Jesus goes around to his disciples and He serves the fish and He serves the bread. Can you imagine what's going through their head at this moment because they're remembering? 

Now, it gets really good and after breakfast, Jesus asks to speak to Peter but what does He say? “Simon, Simon, son of John.” What's up with that? I mean, it goes from beyond like Peter to Simon Peter. Jesus uses his formal name like “Simon Johnson.” I mean, seriously, that's like key. You guys know Keith, Keith Trollinger. There's my buddy, Keith Trollinger, who’s our student pastors, one of our student pastors here, who’s doing an awesome job. If you guys have high schoolers, Keith is just knocking it out of the park, one of my closest friends. But, how weird would it be if I get into the office tomorrow morning and I go up to Keith and I say, “Hello, Mr. Trollinger.” He's been on vacation for the last week. He would think he had been fired. He'd be like, “What happened? Something changed while I were gone. Why are you calling me Mr. Trollinger? It's supposed to be ‘bro,’ or it's supposed to be ‘man’ or it's supposed to be ‘Keith’ at the very worst, but why? Why did you just address me as ‘Mr. Trollinger?’” But that's what Jesus does. He called Simon Peter over away from the fire and He says, “Hey, let's just you and me chat for a second, because you know where all this started. You know how all this began. I want to have a private conversation with you.” And He says, “Simon, son of John, Simon Johnson, Mr. Johnson. 

Jesus says, “Do you love me more than these? Now, Jesus uses this word for love. This is where this tattoo is from. Agape. I love the Greek language. You guys have heard me talk about this before. The Greek language is so precise and we throw out love like it's nothing, don't we? I mean, like I can say I love Elijah, I love my wife, I love pizza and I love summer walks on the shore, right? We just throw out love like it's nothing like I love a big bass. It's like what? What in the world? What does love mean in the Greek language. It is so precise. They have so many words in the English. English language doesn't do it justice. So Jesus right here says, “Simon, son of John, I want to know, do you love me? Do you agape me?” That is a love that is a godly sacrificial. All in. When you guys hear me talk about “Love your wives as Christ loved the church.” That is the sacrificial kind of love He uses. Paul uses that same word, agape. It's sacrificial. I “lay down my life for you kind of love. 

Jesus says, “Simon, son of John,” do you what? What's he say? Agape me? Do you agape me? The sacrificial kind of love. Listen to what Peter says. Peter says,”Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” But check this out. Peter actually doesn't answer his question. Jesus says, “Simon, son of John, do you agape me? Do you love me sacrificially? Is it all in? Would you give your life for me?” And Peter says, “Yes, Lord, of course. You know I…” but he says “phileo you.” In other words, what Peter says phileo, was kinda like a friend type of love, a conditional type of love, a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours type of love of brotherly kind of love. It says, “Hey, you know, we like each other. We're bros. We’re doing the same thing and as long as we're doing the same thing, as long as we got each other's back, we're good.” And Jesus says, “Peter, do you love me with an agape love, a sacrificial all in, lay down my life type of love?” Peter says, “Lord, you know, I like you a lot.” 

Now some of you men in the room know the pain of that, don't you? When you tell that girlfriend back in the day, “I love you,” And she goes, “Oh, I like you, too.” Right? I did that to a girl named Tiffany. We had dated for three weeks back in high school. And I knew she was the one. I bought her this teddy bear and a Stevie B tape “because I love you…” Y'all remember that? Stevie B? Yeah, y'all know what a cassette tape is? So Stevie B is that. It was “The Postman Song” is the other name. Y'all know, what I’m talking about, (Sings )“I got your letter from the postman just the other day…” That's It. So, just because. So anyhow, I bought her this tape. I laid down my life. I was all in, it was a sacrificial kind of love and it had been three or four weeks and I knew and I said, “Tiffany, I’ve got to let you know.” I wrote this note on this tape and this teddy bear and I gave it to her. And I said, “I love you.” Guess what she said? “Oh, that's sweet.” That was it. So she broke up with me after that. 

That's what's happening right here, man. I mean, on a whole other level. Jesus says, “Peter, are you all in? Do you love me? The sacrificial kind of love? Peter says, “Yes, Lord. You know, I love you like a brother. Love you like a friend. I like you a whole lot.” Jesus says, “Then feed my lambs.” Then Jesus repeated the question, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He asks the same question again? “Do you agape me? Do you love me with a sacrificial kind of love?” Jesus didn't get the hint. I only asked once. But He says,”Listen, that's not what I asked you.” Peter, listen to what He's telling you. You’ve got to read between the lines. He's saying, “That's not what I asked you. I said, “Do agape me? Are you all in? Do you love me with a sacrificial kind of love?” Then Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I…” You know what he says? “…phileo you.” He answered it the same way. “Yes, Lord. You know I really love you. I love you like a brother. You're a great friend. I phileo you.” Jesus answers, “Then take care of my sheep.” 

The third time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John,” Do you know what He says right here? Jesus changes the question. Actually, the third time He actually says, you can look it up. Don't take my word for it. I'm begging you, look it up. Don't take my word for it. The third time He actually says, “Simon, son of John, do you phileo me?” Jesus changes the question. He actually says, “Listen, man, you're not answering my question.” He says, “Here's what I need to know. Peter, do you even love me like a friend? You're obviously avoiding the question. I know you're terrified. I know you’ve gone back to your old way of life. I know you're confused, but, you're not even answering my question.” And so Jesus says, “Peter, Simon, son of John, do you phileo me? Do you even love me like a friend?” 

It says here that Peter was hurt, when Jesus asked the question a third time. Why was Peter hurt? Because Jesus changed the question. It wasn't that He asked him three times in a row. Jesus changed the question. The third time, He said, “Listen man, shoot straight with me, Peter. I need to know right now. Do you even love me like a friend? Do you even have a brotherly kind of love?”  Listen to what Peter says. He says, “Lord, you know everything and you know that I…” What's he say? Anybody know? He says, “You know everything and you know that I phileo you. Peter says, “Lord, if you want me to lie to you, I'll lie to you. If you want me to put on my church face and act holy, I'll put on my church face and act holy. But, Lord you saw me go fishing. You saw me drag everybody behind me. You know I was out there. You know what I was doing. You know my heart. You're obviously God in the flesh and you know I'm terrified. My whole world has been flipped upside down. I don't understand what's going on. And if you want me to say ‘Yes, I love Jesus. Yes I do. I love Jesus. How about you?’ If you want me to say that, I'll say that, but you know my heart and you know I'm giving you everything I've got and this is what I've got.” 

Peter's honest with the Lord and listen to what Jesus says. “Then feed my sheep,” and then He goes, “Thank you, thank you. I want to know right where you are because I'll take you from right where you are and I'll do something great.” Then He says, “I'll tell you the truth. When you were younger you were able to go where you liked. You dressed yourself and you went wherever you wanted to go, Peter. But when you're old you will stretch out your hands and others will dress you and take you where you don't want to go.” Jesus said this to him so that he would know about what kind of death he would be glorify God. Then Jesus told him, what'd he say? What'd he say? “Follow me.” He says, “Let's go. I'll take you right where you are.” You smelly, stinky fishermen that went back to who you are. You've been out all night. You're tired, you're scared to death. You just jumped into the lake. You have no idea what's up from down, but you're being honest with me. Shoot straight. What do you want? Where are you? Where will you go, Peter?” And Jesus says, “Follow me. Let's go.” 

You know what happened? Just a few days from there, as a matter of fact, you, you go back and we know that from the day of the resurrection was the Passover. You know what was fifty days from the Passover or the day of the resurrection? It was the celebration of what? Pentecost. You know what happened on Pentecost? Just a few days from this, guys. It's just a few days from this encounter with Jesus. On Pentecost, this guy that said, “I'm scared to death. I don't know what's up from down. I've been out fishing and I drug all my friends along with me. God, I am a loser. I'm a screw up. You can't do anything with that.” That same Peter stood up in Jerusalem in front of thousands of people on the Day of Pentecost and he boldly said, “You guys remember Jesus, whom you killed? You killed the Son of God, but He rose from the dead and because He rose from the dead, you can have life and you can have it more abundantly!” And people said to that, “We’re cut to the heart. What do we do? We believe what you're saying, Peter.” As they spoken in all these different languages so all these people could understand what was happening, they said, “What do we do?” Then Peter says, “Repent and be baptized, dive all in.” 

Thousands of people came to know Jesus Christ because of who, Church? Who? Peter. Peter, the screw up, who couldn't get it right, but he was willing to say, “This is who I am. This is my brokenness. This is my shame. This is my guilt. These are my failures. God, can you do something with that?” 

I promise you the answer's the same for you? Heck, yeah. Let's roll. Follow me. Follow me. So Children of God, as followers of Jesus Christ, He needs you to know this morning that your identity is not a fisherman. You're identity is not a father, not a mother. It's not a husband, a wife, a boss, a coworker, and employee, a student, a college student or preacher. Go down the list. Your identity is Christ and Him crucified and now alive in you. If you will lay down your life so that He can live, it is a game changer. Imagine what God can do in you fifty days from now. Well, what He could do in this church fifty days from now. What He could do in our community fifty days from now! That was just one obedient fishermen, who said, “I'm terrified, but I'll jump in. Terrified, but here I go, Jesus.” 

Some of you guys this morning need to make that decision again. We are going to have some baptisms this morning from some other people who have made that decision, who were saying, “I'm walking this out in obedience and Jesus said, ‘Get baptized.’” So, they have responded, “I’m getting baptized and I'm going to keep walking this out.” 

Some of you guys just need somebody to pray with this morning. Maybe you need somebody to hold your hand and walk this out. Maybe going to those elective classes, we talked about how some of need to take that step. I don't know, but I know that God is saying, “Will you give me what you have and if you'll give me what you have, I will rock it. If you will give me what you have, I will change your identity or flip your world upside down and you will have a peace that passes all understanding, a joy beyond comprehension.” If that's you this morning We're going to sing. I beg you to take that step. Make that step this morning to talk with somebody. I'll be over here. Other folks will be over here. I would love to talk with you. Let's just celebrate together. 

God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you that our identity is Christ and Christ alone. Thank you for the freedom that that brings, God, and for those this morning that need this to begin to walk in that freedom. I pray they would have the courage and the boldness to say, “I don't get it. I don't understand, but here's where I am. God, can you take that? Can you use that?” God, thank you again for loving us in spite of us. In Jesus' name. Amen.